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Data from: Does sun glare increase antipredator behaviour in prey?

Cite this dataset

Beauchamp, Guy (2016). Data from: Does sun glare increase antipredator behaviour in prey? [Dataset]. Dryad.


As the sun gradually lowers over the horizon, prey species with more sun in their eyes should have more difficulty in visually monitoring their surroundings for threats and thus experience a higher predation risk. In a unique setting, I could examine changes in antipredator behaviour in a prey species, the semipalmated sandpiper Calidris pusilla, facing attacks by peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus, which originated from the general direction of the lowering sun. I predicted gradual changes in antipredator behaviour as sun glare becomes more problematic later in the day. As the day progressed, sandpipers occurred in sparser groups when the sun glared but not when clouds obscured the sun, suggesting that fewer individuals engaged in risky foraging. Pecking rate and foraging success decreased later in the day when the sun glared but not otherwise implying an increase in vigilance at the expense of foraging. When more sun hit their eyes, sandpipers also moved faster suggesting increased skittishness. The sun glare effect might be relevant to any species foraging in open areas not only when the sun sets but also when it rises especially if predators can target prey species at these vulnerable times. The temporal gradient in predation risk that the sun glare effect creates might thus apply broadly and have important consequences for antipredator vigilance, foraging efficiency, and habitat use.

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Bay of Fundy